Where There is Smoke


If you are of a certain age, you may know the rest of that phrase. Here is a slight hint. OK, some of the readers are younger, so it has to do with Muriel Cigarettes, Susan Anton, and jocks. Tying this back to the here and now, there are now five of my classmates that were wronged by the same instructor who must remain nameless in public for legal reasons. Here is just a snipped of e-mail chain talk:

This is what my advisor said to do. If you want to report your concerns to an Instructor Specialist please go into your portal…

This is the lowest grade I have ever made. The big thing I have software to check my papers and it came back clear, but she said it was not. While I haven’t been accused of Plagiarism, I do have issues with the grading in this class. I feel that she is being excessive with her grading. I have never received the scores that she has been handing out until this class.I have the same issue. At this rate there’s no way I’d be passing this course.I am having a major problem and she has reported me to the University. I have NEVER had a problem in the past. I am working on it because I feel as though she is being extremely critical. She has gone back to week 1 assignment and has changed at least 1 grade to a zero in every week starting from week 1.

This has reached beyond a trend level to an on-purpose action because all of us cannot be wrong, nor forgot how to write and cite, the essential parts of graduate school work. As this class enters the final week and grade postings up to one week later, there will be nervous students waiting for the shoes to drop while our academic career may be tainted by one solitary and scary instructor who has an agenda. Stay tuned!


And the Beat goes on

H/T YouTube

On a weekend night in North Carolina, this song is in my head for some reason. This was a dance number from a One-Hit wonder group named Orbit. The power of YouTube is grand and returns tidings of joy upon its subjects, but I digress. Just when it was safe for academic exploits to resume to some sense of normalcy, she strikes again. Again my voice is red and hers is blue.

The request was for a Facebook App. Amazon, Foursquare, and The Huffington Post are all websites as well as Facebook Apps because each of them have separate presences on Facebook and any presence is considered in App. The screen shot I have sent from my account shows this clearly. I feel that the 2 points lost on the exercise should be restored because I answered the question the way it was asked. If it came across as a personal attack, that is wrong and not how I intended it, my sincere apologies for any hurt this caused (my student advisor only suggested a different way to approach you, this is a legit apology).

A FaceBook page is NOT an app and those websites do not quality as apps (a presence does not count as an app- by that login my personal FB page would qualify as an app and in reality it does NOT). The grade stands and this conversation is over. I appreciate that you will be more cautious of your tone in the future, which will also avoid any conduct charges being filed. As far as the question, please review exactly what the DQ required and that is what you must do to be eligible for those points (and it answers your question of how as well). Thank you and let me know if you still have questions after reviewing the DQ question again.

Conduct charges filed on a graduate student? Really, Really, Really, Really! What next, go out and find a branch for my whopping? I have been told by a few people that a nasty attitude comes out when provoked. Will leave that up to others, but suffice to say, I take grading and schoolwork seriously as there are ramifications that go beyond whether an instructor likes me.

And that’s not all; this experience comes to a head earlier today as these sets of communications are presented.

On a routine check through TII, I received significant similarities with your Week 4 Assignment response. You had NO attempts to use quotation marks for portions that were word-for-word from other sources. ANY time you use another person’s ideas; you MUST cite and reference it in APA. ANY time you use someone’s exact words; you MUST use quotation marks and cite/reference it as well. This must occur EVERY TIME. Not doing so is PLAGIARISM. As stated in Faculty Expectations, no more than 10% of ANY work should ever be in quotes. You need to use your own words, analyses, and demonstrate that you understand the concepts. How do you account for these similarities?

I expect a response/explanation within 48 hours as well as acknowledgement that you have re-read the “Academic Dishonesty” portion of the “Student Responsibilities and Policies” section of eCollege AND checked out all of the sources listed below (do this via email). If this does occur again, I will certainly report the incident to the University. I will determine exactly how to proceed upon receiving an explanation from you- I am awarding a zero and will likely file charges and I expect you to check out the plagiarism resources listed below. If these 3 things (provide explanation, acknowledge you have re-read the Academic Dishonesty section and checked out the resources) are not done in within 48 hours, I will definitely report the incident to the University. Thank you.

In this case the larger font size was my way of emplacing the threats that are made towards me. The paper had all of its word for word statements inside of double quotes and cited, but either she didn’t see it or didn’t want to for ulterior motives plus reasons that defy logic. All of the paraphrased items were attributed to the authors, all of which I can prove on demand.

1 Explanation: What do you want me to say here. What would be the “right” answer? I have never been to any of the sources listed that your report has, but how do I prove it to you?
2 Acknowledgement of reading the Academic Dishonesty section: I have read it over and over for the past 4 years, how am I supposed to prove it to you?
3 Checked the Resources: Again, I consulted the resources for this and all papers I have ever written. Paraphrases are attributed to the authors listed afterwards, how do I prove it to you?

Please watch your tone again- it is coming across as condescending and disrespectful. I am merely asking how you have multiple passages that match other sources verbatim yet are not in quotation marks to identify that text as being quoted. The matches do not mean you were at those exact sources- those sources likely used the same text (article, web site, book, etc.) that you used as stated in that source.

It is important that you understand the problem here and learn how to use sources correctly and effectively so you do not have problems in the future. This is not just a problem in this class- it is for anything you do. This very issue can have far more serious consequences than a zero on one assignment- not only could you get kicked out of schools for repeated occurrences, but you can lose jobs, careers, and even face serious legal consequences. Have you checked out the plagiarism resources listed- even the announcement with presentation that explains all of this that was posted before classes began?

I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you

The more I stew over this, the question becomes, who is the adult here? Finally, we have come to the current last word, mine.

I guess any communication with you is bad tone and disrespectful. I guess standing up for my integrity is condescending. Again, what do you want me to say? To attempt answering your question, this class and teacher are not the only one that is offering this particular assignment as multiple schools run similar syllabi. That means virtually every word published was done by someone else and I am supposed to remember every “original to me” thought in my Fertile Mind and where it came from? You are saying that I am in contact with the Web Universe and lifting their statements at some level. In some previous classes, I was docked for font changes in verbatim and paraphrased items that would have a clear difference between what someone else in our work said and my original thoughts. This is not in APA format.

This isn’t my first graduate school rodeo. I know how the game is played. What you are doing have ramifications as well as I have no confidence that I can pass your class, but post a 3.96 GPA out of 4 for 24 previous classes and 2 complete degree programs @ Ashford. Just as I am right about the Facebook App assignment that I will never get credit for, word for word statements were set off by quotes and cited. Paraphrased works were also cited as such the case in every paper I have ever written going back to High School 30+ years ago. You mentioned 3 questions that I needed to answer or the “hammer” that you yield would come down on me and will probably hurt for a long time. I am all about the right answers that get me to a passing grade. I would also like examples of items that get winning points in your world, so I can incorporate them in my answers.

Here we have it on a near real-time basis the genesis to this ongoing saga. Stay tuned.

Headstrong Instructors

When this was published on my other blog originally, the migration didn’t travel as well. Medium supports embedded articles, unlike some others, so here is the post, followed by updated material inside this new post.


Wikipedia Elitism

The arguments that professors make for not including WikiPedia and other encyclopedias as sources is because anyone can edit them to their own perspective, bias, or just flat out wrong information. The Lords of Academicstan must feel threatened as the gatekeeper of information in a supposedly free and open society. Never mind the community generally rats out the offending parties and make the fixes necessary to truth to appear and be somewhat trusted. Even if the community does not address the posts or musings, there are alternative sources of info which may be more trustworthy, relevant, or even interesting to use and choose. With the NSA leaks, Wikileaks, IRS targeting groups, and other invasions of privacy, the last bastion of independent thought, our university system does not need to succumb to the temptations of the command/control police state. Besides, it is a great way to cite brain matter that has entered and exited the brain through various means over the years which is generally accepted as being true, factual, or representative.

Productivity Tools

This little ditty was an assignment in one of my graduate school classes that seemed to be obvious enough to be taken for granted. Productivity tools in the Windows world. The assignment did not specifically mention one environment over another because these tools are available in the Macintosh and Linux realms as well. Having been intimate with technology for most of my adult life, would feel lost and confused if Microsoft Office never came around and became a dominant force in how I interact with friends, family, co-workers, agencies, and educational institutions. Expert consideration at Word, Excel, PDF, and Corel Paint Shop Photo Pro with Intermediate work in PowerPoint, Access, Photoshop, and Visio which in 2013 only allows staying in the tech and employment room, not stand out because this is expected. Throughput can always be improved by slaying the dragon that is procrastination and fighting the urge to produce “get by, mediocre” work. This is not rocket science, just teaching and learning with technology. Without these and other tools, there is no point in getting up in the AM to instruct hormonally raised boys and girls for 8 hours each day for a wage that is not much greater than working at QuikTrip but much more important in the grand experiment named life. No amount of technology will substitute for knowledge and wisdom, mandatory traits of successful educators in all eras.

Why Fertile Mind?

In a way, proper blog writing is akin to academic writing, without most of the APA (American Psychological Association) baked writing standards in Academicstan, you know, the same land that banishes Wikipedia to 3rd class citizen standards. The name Fertile Mind was chosen because this author attempts to think outside the box when it comes to getting a point across. It may seem quirky and non-conformist at times, but the charge is to never be dull. This blog will take the KISS (Keep It Simple for Students) mantra and will replace Students with Straightforward (Newby, et al., 2003). Along those lines are clear and succinct prose and argument making. Students and educators lead busy lives, no point in wasting their time with word salad. Minds can wander, blog posts cannot; topic limitation becomes paramount for success. Simple, low resolution graphics that are incorporated because most of the audience is still on 1st generation “broadband” or even dial-up that have visited the blog for information, education, or even entertainment. Navigation support is built-in this and other blogs via templates which also covers accessibility. The list continues for all of the tips that the “experts” state leading to a successful blog site. The level of success is to be determined over time.

Works Cited

Newby, T. J., Stepich, D. A., Lehman, J. D., Russell, J. D., & Ottenbreit-Leftwich, A. (2011). Educational technology for teaching and learning (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.